Coachella Sued by Portland’ s Soul’d Out Music Festival For Illegal Monopoly For Live Music Festival Performances’
A new lawsuit is revealing a disturbing clause in the Coachella contract: According to Paste and Billboard, the bands which are about to play the famous festival in Indio (its first weekend is on April 13-15th, and it continues next weekend on April 20-22nd) are not allowed to perform at other festivals or events within a five-state radius of California, over a five-month period surrounding Coachella. This five-state radius includes California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington or Arizona, and this clause applies during a period going from December 15th, 2017 to May 7th, 2018.
Portland, Oregon’s Soul’d Out Music Festival, which will take place on April 18-22, is suing Coachella as well as organizers AEG Presents and Goldenvoice, on the basis that the festival contract clause is violating anti-trust and unfair competition laws by creating ‘an illegal monopoly in the market for live music festival performances’. Soul’d Out Music Festival tried to approach SZA to play their 2018 festival, but were turned down because of this clause, and it was the same story for other performers. Of course this clause only apply for competing events, and doesn’t apply for events organized by AEG, which makes it sound like a complete monopole.
I had no idea such a clause existed, and I bet many people were unaware of it too… ‘We seek no less than to operate in a fair and open environment,’ co-owner and co-founder of Soul’d Out Productions, Nicholas Harris, said in a statement. ‘But as our industry has become more consolidated, it is subjected to more and more corporate tactics that penalize the public. Music, and the culture that births it, is not a commodity to be exploited.’
As Coachella is the first music festival to gross $100 million in ticket sales, this is obviously a David against Goliath battle, but since the situation looks so unfair, I hope the small Oregon festival has a chance to win? How do Coachella organizers think they have the right to impose such a rule in a 1300 mile radius?
Now I wonder what other festival is using the same tactic, and since Goldenvoice/AEG control about all the large festivals of the region (FYF Fest, Stagecoach, Arroyo Seco Weekend, as well as Panorama on the east coast) they could well have the monopole of all the artists that play there, and this is the scary reality of music festivals.